How many of us had to make a fresh start? I know some of us made choices for a fresh start whereas others were forced into it either by an ending of a marriage or a health issue. Whatever the reason, we can all relate in some ways although I’m not sure how many dealt with the issues in the movies I’m about to talk about. Check out Wandering Through The Shelves and see what other films have been chosen. Here are my 3...
1. WAY DOWN EAST-1920
Yes, I went back....waaaaaay back to a film that shows its age and I don’t mean that it just a silent film but one that goes with the times of that era. We must remember that people were not as tolerant as they are today. It stars the remarkable Lilian Gish as a naive girl taken in by a smooth talking jerk (we have all been there) and becomes pregnant by him(not all of us have been there:)). Of course, he drops her like a hot potato and, when her baby dies, she wanders out into the cruel world until she comes to a home where she decides to start a new life. This film has the famous climax of Gish on a floating ice field with her hand and hair dangling in the water with Richard Barthlemess jumping from ice to ice trying to reach her. Now, they are not going over a major waterfall like Niagara Falls but they did film this during an actual blizzard and the cameraman, Billy Bitzer, had to do all he could to make sure the camera would not freeze. When I watched the AFI salute to Ms. Gish and they showed this scene, there was an expression "OMG" from the audience at the climax of that scene. I’ll never forget that nor that Gish suffered from pain in her hand until she died.
2. WATERLOO BRIDGE-1940
This is a pure doomed romance set during the war...the First World War but obviously making a statement on the Second that was going on at this point. It stars the beautiful Vivien Leigh as a young ballerina who falls for a handsome and rich man ready to go to war. They plan to marry but she finds out he has died at the front and she is destroyed. Naturally she turns to hooking for a living so her life turns to crap only to find out he never did die. What is a girl to do change her life again? She was a good girl gone bad trying to make good but this is the height of the Hollywood Censorship time so what will happen?? This was Vivien Leigh’s, Robert Taylor’s and Winston Churchill’s favourite film.
3. SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY-1991
Oh yes, I moved ahead a few decades because I just re-watched this film about a month or so ago. It stars Julia Roberts as a young woman married to a handsome, rich man who happens to be a very controlling, physically and emotionally abusive man. She can’t take it anymore so she decides to fake her own death and start a brand new life in a nice American town in a home I wish I could afford. What will happen?? Well, you can take a few guesses since this film is not surprising by any means but I have a better view of this film the second time around. It is well acted and well thought out and I was most surprised by Patrick Bergin who plays her husband. It’s worth taking a look but know it is not a masterpiece by any means.
What films would you choose?